Harper put up a .279/.388/.512 line with 183 doubles and 184 home runs in his 927 games in a Nationals uniform.
He went to the postseason four times with the Nats, putting up a .211/.315/.487 line with four doubles, a triple, and five home runs in 19 games.
On Tuesday night, however, the 26-going-on-27-year-old outfielder was part of the visiting team in the nation’s capital when the Nationals clinched a Wild Card berth with their third straight win over the Phillies and a Chicago Cubs’ loss in Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.
After the game, a 6-5 loss for the Phillies, Harper was asked if he had any hard feelings for the Nationals, who eliminated the Phils from contention with their win in the first game of the five-game series in Nationals Park on Monday and clinched in front of them a day later.
“No, I have no hard feelings toward them at all,” Harper told reporters, as quoted by MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki.
“They’re a great team. They’re a great organization. That’s why they’re at where they are right now. It’s a great group of guys over there. They play the game the right way. They play hard. That have a pitching staff to go with it, with a lineup as well. They’re going to be tough to beat. The’ve got a good team and that’s why they are who they are.”
Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo, who drafted Harper and oversaw his development, was asked on Wednesday, in his weekly visit with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies, if he talked to the one-time National while the Phillies were in D.C. for the long series this week.
“I did,” Rizzo said. “I ran across him in-between games by our clubhouse and said hello, and saw his new little baby, and it was nice catching up with him.”
Was it also nice eliminating Harper and his new team from contention for a postseason spot in Nationals Park?
“No, wonderful,” Rizzo said. “He gets it. It was wonderful to eliminate him here in our park, and it’s just — that’s competition and that’s baseball, he gets that.”
Lest you think there’s ill will from Rizzo’s side, even though he did seem to enjoy eliminating Harper and his new team, Harper did say that the only General Manager he knew before this season reached out to him after the deal with the Phillies was done this past March.
“I have so much respect for Mike Rizzo,” Harper said in his introductory press conference with the Phillies.
“He actually reached out to me and told me, ‘Congratulations.’ That’s somebody that had my back for my whole career, and somebody that really maintained every single day and did certain things for that organization that I truly won’t forget.”